Tuesday 14 April 2020

Easily Stored Terrain - Cheap, Easy Tree Basing

As a dad with limited gaming space, I am always "scaling down" my terrain, or making the terrain more "storeable." For example, I replaced my expanding foam hills with flat rubber mat hills which stack flat and take up 1/3rd of the space.

Obviously trees with fixed bases take up too much space - it's easier to store the trees and bases separately. So - how to easily do detachable trees?

You can have removable trees, but usually the trees either come with integral bases, or you have to make the base, using say 40K bases or washers.

But I'm all for cheap and easy. And my (cheap) Chinese trees didn't come with special bases.  So I just got  some 5mm hose from the hardware shop.

The base itself will be MDF (a kinda plywood-thickness glorified pressed cardboard) which costs only dollars for big sheets.

I picked a big drill bit the same diameter as the hose, and drilled into my MDF base.

 Since it was a snug fit, I just jammed the hose into the hole. Didn't even bother to glue anything.

You can see the piping poking through. I could disguise them more, but I'm talking cheap easy terrain. I'm not a railroad modeller!

The "dirt" texture is just my usual PVA glue + sand on top + painted with cheap brown craft paint.

You can see the pipe sticking out if you look (like in the first photo) - at normal tabletop ranges like this shot, it isn't noticeable.   I made 6 more of these with my ingredients which fills out a table nicely.

Total cost for a table of terrain = $22: $5 for 120 x 90cm MDF sheet, sand = free, big pack of cheap Chinese trees $10, lifetime supply of 5mm pipe $5, brown craft paint $2.

Total time = An hour?  Cutting out MDF, PVA glue + sand sprinkling, painting, drilling holes + adding tubes - each step was about 15 mins.  Waiting for stuff to dry actually took more time.

"Storability"? Yes. The bases stack into a A4 size box, and the trees go in a separate bag.


  1. Nice technique! O had never thought of doing something like that, it looks easy and functional

  2. I like the IDEA of terrain. I just don't like spending hours making it or money I could use for new toys. A railroad modeller I ain't :-)